Drug War In Mexico: 36 Priests Killed in Past 10 Years

A portrait of priest Gregorio Lopez at his funeral in Altamirano, Guerrero State, Mexico, on December 26, 2014 after he was kidnapped and killed (AFP Photo/Pablo Spencer)

Hundreds live with death threats and bounties on their heads.

Photo Credit:   A portrait of priest Gregorio Lopez at his funeral in Altamirano, Guerrero State, Mexico, on December 26, 2014 after he was kidnapped and killed (AFP Photo/Pablo Spencer)

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]When Pope Francis visited the USA last September, he openly defended illegal immigration, saying Latino immigrants came to America at ‘great personal cost’ during a moving speech to 40,000 followers in Philadelphia.    Francis called on migrants from Mexico and the rest of the world to “not feel discouraged by all the challenges and hardships” they face.    [/pullquote]

YAHOO NEWS:   Mexico City (AFP) – When Pope Francis arrives in Mexico on Friday he will land in the most dangerous country for priests in Latin America, with dozens killed in the past decade.

The drug war that has killed tens of thousands of people in the past 10 years has also claimed the lives of at least 36 priests, targeted by criminal organizations, according to the Catholic Multimedia Center.

The latest victim was Father Erasmo Pliego de Jesus, whose burned body was found in November in Puebla, one of the most religious states in the world’s second largest Roman Catholic country.

“It has been terrible. Many priests are continuously affected by organized crime because there are people who see priests as a symbol of certain values that they don’t agree with,” Archbishop Norberto Rivera told AFP.

In Mexico City, a metropolis of 20 million people, at least 400 priests have faced extortion and threats, Rivera said.

Pope Francis will visit Michoacan’s capital, Morelia, on Tuesday.   The avocado and lime growing region is known for a conflict that erupted in 2013 between vigilante militias formed by farmers to combat the cult-like Knights Templar drug cartel.

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